Fabulous People: Kevin Lewis

Kevin Lewis is the president and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities, a destination marketing organization for the Tri-Cities region in Southeast Washington State. “We fuel transformational growth in the Tri-Cities through tourism. Our dynamic team helps stimulate community vitality, economic growth and quality of life in the region through strategic sales, effective marketing, collaborative destination development, proactive community engagement and innovative operations.” Learn about Kevin Lewis…

Follow at: @tricitieswa

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

First job: I worked after school and on weekends as a production assistant at Mountain Graphics. We produced posters and graphics for an outdoor and wildlife photographer.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: I love just about anything outside – hiking, mountain biking, riding the paved trails along the river or soaking up sunshine on a boat in the water. Just get me where I can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and I’m happy.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: I just celebrated 40 years of marriage and with that came three remarkable children and two grandchildren. In the big picture, these relationships are my most meaningful and lasting accomplishments.

Professionally, I’d say it has been my involvement in transforming destinations. In just five years while leading the team as Tourism Director in St. George, Utah, we introduced and successfully rebranded the destination as “Greater Zion” and more than doubled tourism revenues in the area. Much of that growth came from hosting three IRONMAN World Championship events. These three events produced more than $120 million in direct economic impact and the marketing initiatives surrounding them solidified Greater Zion as “The Land of Endurance.” I am also thrilled to be a catalyst for bringing the IRONMAN 70.3 to the Tri-Cities for the first time in 2024.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: After seeing declining athlete registrations for IRONMAN St. George in its second and third years, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) called one morning to let me know they had decided to drop the race from their schedule. We had a signed agreement for two more years, but they were prepared to cancel it, and the decision was already made. I was on vacation at the time, but I couldn’t accept their decision. I worked feverishly over the next few days, making phone calls, strategizing and deliberating options with WTC. At length, I presented a strategy to transition the race from a full-distance IRONMAN to an IRONMAN 70.3. I convinced WTC to stay in St. George and make the race one of WTC’s regional pro championships. That year we had more pros register than ever before at an IRONMAN Championship event. The fever for the race and the destination caught fire and became one of WTC’s most successful race destinations. The race was slated to end completely, but instead, it became one of the most prestigious IRONMAN Championship destinations.

Someone who inspires you and why: My mother. She genuinely cares for others and she has spent her life looking out for people. She had a modest lifestyle, but in her home, everyone was welcome, and no one was left hungry. She gave her love to lift and support others.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: In our role as destination marketers, we have a platform and a voice. In this career, we are given the opportunity to help others see that there is beauty and goodness in the world. My advice is to immerse yourself in that opportunity. Look for the good and share it. Use your talents and gifts in ways that inspire others to see and contribute to that goodness – then build on this pattern.

Favorite quote: “Don’t chase success. Decide to make a difference and success will find you.” —Jon Gordon

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I’ve competed in four World Championship Horseshoe Pitching Tournaments. 

What makes someone fabulous: A fabulous person helps others discover who they are, recognize the gifts and talents they possess and gain confidence to do what they can do and become what they are meant to be.

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